In a matter of six weeks, the conglomerate of Islamist militias that form “Jaysh Al-Fateh” (predominately Jabhat Al-Nusra and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham)captured a substantial amount of territory from the Syrian Armed Forces in the Idlib Governorate; thus, leaving many civilians in the nearby Latakia Governorate with a strong feeling of apprehension and panic, as the Islamist forces inch closer to the coastal province.
However, there was one more military endeavor for the militants of Jaysh Al-Fateh in order for them to reach the Syrian Government’s stronghold of Latakia: the Al-Ghaab Plains of rural Idlib and Hama.
In addition to its rugged terrain, the Al-Ghaab Plains has the largest concentration of Syrian Alawis outside of the Latakia and Tartous Governorates, making the environment extremely hostile for the Islamist militants trying to capture its entirety; it also boasts one of the strongest contingents from the National Defense Forces (NDF), as the aforementioned fighters from the predominately Christian town of Al-Sqaylabiyah number in the thousands.
Despite the prevalence of this information, the militants of Jaysh Al-Fateh have disregarded these warnings and waged a large-scale assault on this Syrian Government stronghold, resulting in rather disappointing results for the aforementioned militant group.
On Saturday morning, the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra” – in coordination with Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham and Ajnad Al-Sham – attempted to recapture the strategic hills at Tal Khattab and Tal A’our; however, instead achieving successful results, the armed combatants suffered heavy casualties, as the Syrian Armed Forces were able to route the Al-Qaeda affiliated fighters from this area.
For the militants of Jaysh Al-Fateh, Tal A’our and Tal Khattab are two imperative hills that provide them with the flexibility to utilize their surplus of anti-tank tank TOW missiles on the encroaching Syrian Arab Army’s tanks that threaten their western and northern flanks.
As the battle continues to wage on, the militants from Jaysh Al-Fateh will be forced to utilize more fighters in order to combat the soldiers of the Syrian Armed Forces that are entrenched around this rugged terrain.